If you’ve been to the clinic lately, or follow us on Facebook, you may have seen that we are now offering Wellness Plans for your pets preventative care. It’s important for you to know what preventative care includes, and what your options are in paying for it. There are many different ways you might find yourself paying for your pet’s preventive care, and knowing your options and having a plan will likely save you money in the long run as well as ensuring your pet is in optimal health.

Better to Prevent Than Treat

At Prior Lake Pet Hospital, we are dedicated making sure your pets get all the preventive care they need. Here are a few examples of the standard recommendations you’re probably familiar with:

  • Annual or semiannual physical exams
  • An individualized vaccination plan
  • Routine testing for common conditions
  • Prophylactic dental cleanings
  • Testing and prevention of parasites, and the diseases they carry

Doesn’t that sound great? Who wouldn’t want to do everything their veterinarian recommends to help keep their pets happy and healthy? After all, staying current with the recommendations your vet makes is considered the most humane and cost-effective way to manage any patient’s health care.

But we also know that kind of care doesn’t come cheap. Sure, it beats having to pay for conditions that could have been prevented. Or worse — losing a pet to a highly treatable disease. None of us should have to suffer the agony of knowing we failed our pets by falling down on their fundamental medical upkeep.

Scenarios like those explain why, as a profession, veterinarians are increasingly looking for ways to make preventive veterinary care more affordable. Because, as we all can attest, cash has a way of getting kind of scarce.

Payment Options

With that in mind, here are a handful of the most common methods available for paying for your pet’s preventive health care, and more:

1. Budgeting. Worried about what preventive care will cost you? Get an individualized list of what your veterinarian recommends for each of your pets yearly. Budget accordingly.

2. Pet health insurance. The trouble with budgeting is that major accidents and illnesses aren’t anticipated. That’s what pet health insurance is for. However, most companies will also offer plans including coverage for wellness issues, too. Personally, I’m a fan of budgeting for wellness and using pet insurance for the big stuff, but if sticking to your budget isn’t so manageable, consider one monthly payment — to your pet health insurance company — for all your pet’s health needs.

3. Credit cards. The trouble, of course, is that pet health insurance (if you have it) doesn’t cover everything. Though some offer peace of mind to the tune of covering 80 or 90 percent of your total financial outlay, you’ll still have to shell out some funds along the way — including deductibles, of course.

This is where credit cards come in. Because when your bank account says no way, something’s got to give. Some companies specialize in offering lines of credit dedicated exclusively to veterinary care. (That is especially useful in the event of an emergency.)

But we all know that keeping a balance on our credit cards is an expensive way to pay for stuff. Not exactly ideal.

4. Wellness plans. The first three approaches I’ve mentioned don’t always work for everyone. Or, to be more precise, let’s just say that some are more appropriate than others. After all, most of the approaches will still have pet owners scrambling to find ways to pay for the simplest things a veterinary hospital offers. Or worse — going without.

This explains why we are now offering our clients what some consider an easier, more complete system for preventive health care. This is how the plans work: You pay a manageable sum every month in exchange for the right to see the veterinarian for all things routine. Not only do the plans allow you to make interest-free payments, each plan gives you a 15% discount on the services included in the plan.

When enrolled in a plan, our hope is that you’ll come to the vet to get things checked out early, and not wait and worry, knowing that your visit is covered. Which is part of the point, from a veterinarian’s point of view: In exchange for a good deal on a wide spectrum of your pet’s wellness-based health care, you agree to keep coming back. Makes sense, right?

To me, it does, which is why our hospital is excited to offer them to you! But does that mean we’ll stop offering credit services and recommending pet health insurance? Not a chance, because sometimes the best approach is a combination of options. Next time you’re here be sure to ask which plans are recommended for your pet. If you’d like to review them ahead of time, you can do so here.

Source: Patty Khuly, VMD

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